IEP/Homework issue

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2004
IEP/Homework issue
Tue, 02-08-2011 - 4:18pm

Our 9-year-old son was varified as being "on the spectrum" last spring. We have had an IEP in place the last few years because of ADHD/learning disability varifications. Last year we decided to repeat third grade, since he would have another year to mature, plus he has a spring birthday and had always been one of the younger in his class. We are glad we did that, however, I think his teacher "expects" a bit more out of him this year since he's done the work already. I don't by any means want to hold him back or not push him to do his best. However, having said that, I feel like she tries to "normalize" him too much. For example, part of his IEP is that he can have 30 minutes/day in the resource room to get caught up, calm down, have a quiet place to work, etc. His teacher believes that if he needs this he is not using his time wisely. While that may be true, isn't that part of the reason to have the IEP and the quiet place in the first place. Yes, I want him to learn to cope, and yes, I want him to be able to participate in the classroom as much as possible. But lately he has been bringing home homework in practically every subject daily. I do want to say that she is overall a great teacher and does a wonderful job with Matthew. I think she has a good grasp of ADHD kids, but not so sure she does with Aspergers or really agrees with the varification of Aspergers. Any thoughts on how to handle this, or is her perspective right that he just needs to learn to cope with homework?

Thanks, Lisa

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Wed, 02-09-2011 - 4:59am

I have come across this a fair bit in my time: otherwise good, well-meaning and competent teachers who don't really 'get' the Aspergers/ASD component, and disagree with the supports we think he needs (or start talking about not becoming 'dependent' on them, which always makes my alarm bells go off, because it's a sure sign that people don't 'get' it: you wouldn't talk about someone with a spinal injury being 'dependent' on a wheelchair, would you?! Aspergers is a permanent, neurological disability, it isn't something you grow out of)

My response has always been to have quiet, but firm chat with them: why do they not think the things agreed in the IEP are not needed? Acknowledge their expertise - that they are a good teacher - but also be firm in pointing out areas where they AREN'T an expert - in Aspergers and your son. Take some of the great info sheets etc that are out there if necessary. Sometimes teachers really don't get that the organisational and sensory issues are *real*, particularly if they are dealing with an otherwise bright and articulate child, which many of our Aspies are. If they can be the world expert on planets and solar systems (just to take my son as an example) why can't they get their homework finished??

to be be honest, it is sometimes the otherwise-good teachers who are the worst culprits. They usually have a lot of experience and are well-loved by parents and respected by their peers and managers, for good reason. But that makes it even harder for them, because most of the stuff they learned - through their training and experience - on how to motivate NT kids just doesn't work on ASD kids. And it frustrates them and challenges them. Which is understandable, but has repercussions for your kid. In my experience, it is actually the younger, less experienced teachers who are better at this: they realise they have a lot to learn, and they welcome the challenge.

And over your son's school career you will have some wonderful teachers and some real doozies....just like in life, he is going to meet people (colleagues, employers, tutors, friends) some of whom will 'get' it and some of whom won't, and you are going to have to help him find ways of dealing with that in structured and supportive ways.

This was slightly rambly and probably not much help (sorry, not had coffee yet!) but I wanted you to know that you are certainly not alone in facing this problem,

Kirsty, mum to Euan (12, Aspergers) Rohan (7, NT) and Maeve (5, NT)

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2004
Wed, 02-09-2011 - 1:10pm
Thanks, do you have any examples or know where I can get the kind of information sheets you are talking about. I've read books, but don't really have anything like what you've suggested. Sounds interesting. Thanks for your input!